The Lehigh Valley and the “economic renaissance” it is experiencing will be the subject of a supplement featured in next month’s issue of American Way, the American Airlines in-flight magazine.
Colin McEvoy, director of communications for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., was one of the local officials who helped London-based publisher Ink Global put together the feature, which will be in the form of a 24-page supplement in the magazine.
“They believe this is a story worth telling on a global stage, especially for audiences who may not be familiar with the Lehigh Valley or who have a false perception of it as an old steel region,” he said.
“The Lehigh Valley really is a hidden gem,” said Carsten Morgan, vice president of special projects for Ink Global.
The supplement feature, which will be called Spotlight Lehigh Valley, is an economic development series that takes a detailed look at what makes a certain region a great place to invest, visit or relocate. The feature will have a particular focus on global economic impact, business diversity and innovation.
Morgan, coincidentally, is a Lehigh Valley resident. He lives in Bethlehem Township and has seen much of the economic evolution over the past decade, but he said his first-hand knowledge of the region didn’t figure in to his decision to feature it.
“I looked at the Lehigh Valley just like any other community,” he said.
He said there are criteria he uses to select a community to profile, including overcoming a negative reputation, the level of economic activity and potential for further growth.
“You see cranes going up all over the Lehigh Valley,” Morgan said. “You want to report the story before it’s happening.”
With around 25 interviews – mostly with area CEOs and a handful of celebrities – Morgan said he thinks people in the Lehigh Valley will be delighted and surprised about what they read about the promise of the region.
He said they should also be excited about the attention the article will bring.
Not only will the article expose millions of travelers to the economic development happenings in the Lehigh Valley – American Airlines offers 6,700 flights daily to 350 destinations in 50 countries – the series will be in front of the right people.
“It is primarily an economic development series, with corporate leaders making up a big part of the readership,” McEvoy noted. “Its readership includes corporate leaders and those at the forefront of company relocation and corporate real estate decisions.”
The series could spur future development in the region.
Morgan said not only will the Lehigh Valley benefit from such future development, so will American Airlines.
“American Airlines has a very strong presence in the Lehigh Valley, and that relationship is intertwined,” Morgan said. “If the commercial activity grows, American Airlines will benefit from that, so why not kick-start it.”
The Lehigh Valley will get its first glimpse of the special series at a launch party for the magazine that will be held June 28 at Lehigh Valley International Airport.